HOUSTON – Police had their hands full as they worked keep the peace between two dueling protests Sunday afternoon in the River Oaks area.
The Houston Police Department stepped up its presence in the area with intention of making sure things did not get out of hand as a group of demonstrators led by community activist Quanell X protested the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder case of teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida. There was also a counter protest at the same time as a show of support for Zimmerman and “stand your ground” laws.
HPD’s mounted patrol made sure each group of protesters kept a safe distance from each by keeping them on opposite sides of West Gray near the River Oaks Shopping Center.
The demonstrators in support of Martin faced some hurdles in their march as police tried to keep them from holding up traffic at area intersections. This caused some breaks in the stream of demonstrators.
However, the group was still able continue marching through the River Oaks residential areas. Aerial views from Air 11 showed some of residents standing in front of their homes as the protesters passed by.
There was some shouting between the two different groups of protesters, but no major confrontations have been reported at this time.
HPD was concerned that the demonstrations could turn violent with two rival groups so close to each other. People who did not live in the neighborhood were encouraged not to come to the River Oaks area.
Some of the businesses in the area closed down early in preparation for the crowds, while others decided not to open altogether for fear of looting if things got out of hand.